Friday, October 13, 2017

2017 Limited Edition Ornament Kits Ready to Ship

Winter Queen Going Fast~Only 29 Left!!
 Golly! All preorders have now shipped, so check your email for tracking numbers! If you are pondering getting a kit for this years limited edition ornament, I have just 29 left.   Thats not 29 in stock...thats 29 in stock, ready to ship, and only 29~ there will be no more! I posted here a bit ago for the perorder explaining about the limited, very limited status of the ornament this year.  It is such a beautiful ornament!
 I designed it after Queen Elizabeth Stuart's early 17th c gloves, seen above. The silk embroidery on the rich blue silk background is breathtaking in person

 I left these pictures large so you can see the details~ all threads are real gold with just the right amount of spangles to really flash in the lights of the Christmas tree!  This years kit is mounted a different way than last years~ there is no stitching over card or pricking~ YAY!
There is purl work...as well as an or~nue flaming heart.

 Borage, pansies and tulips in silks....the ornament is dated for this year of coarse~
 Real gilt over silver tinsel that will tarnish ever so slightly over time....and pearls~ real seed pearls...a whopping 31 inches of real cultured seed pearls are in each kit!

 There are rough purls, bright check purls, and 2% gold Elizabethan Twist...the highest percent gold thread available. A Queen demands nothing but the best of materials~

 And what Queen doesn't have secrets?  Winter Queen has her own secret~ she is a fully lined treasure box, if one so desires to finish her that way.

 The lining silk is one of the scant items not included in the kit, because I used a scrap of a old silk tie, and everyone has their own preference!

The pearls, (along with the blue dutchess silk satin and tinsel), were what really made this kit limited. Pearls this small are extremely difficult to find in good quality~ I scoured the earth, wheeled and dealed and brought you some of the prettiest, tiny, hand drilled pearls ever. Ya....thats right, each one of these lil buggers is drilled by hand...actually on the gloved fingertip of the craftsman.....just amazing.
If you would like to order a kit, or learn more about it, you can do so here

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bath England, Day 1

How Many Impossible Things Before Noon???
 Sunday we were up super early again, said goodbye to our townhouse in Knightsbridge and were off to Paddington Station for our Great Western Railway trip to Bath

  Bath~ the most gorgeous city in Somerset! Since I was teaching all week, and had a tour scheduled for my off day on Wednesday, Sunday was really the only day for me to get out and see Bath. Lynne & Michael, the perfect host&hostess, were waiting for me when our train pulled in the station. We arrived somewhere around 0900 am.
 Once settled in and briefed on what the plan of the day was, I was off to the Fashion Museum~ the only time it was open that I was not teaching! Located at the Bath Assembly Rooms, it is an absolute gem of a museum. Good things definitely come in small packages. Currently they are running a 'Lace in Fashion' exhibit I wanted to see, but I also came to see some particular 17thc embroidered pieces of clothing....that is, if a person could even get thru the door! Right at the entrance is the Spence collection of early gloves....just amazing!
  I would have liked to have seen more children's clothing in the exhibit, but this 17th c embroidered jacket made my day. This was what I had come to see here. After the Lace exhibit, I met up with a Dear friend from Germany who was taking my class. She had been to Bath before, so took me for a walk about.
 Not far from the Fashion Museum is the Circus. No...not a circus with animals~ the circus is an entire circle of homes~ the architecture is very unique, and at the time in the 18th c was new and brought in people from afar to live there....its just so huge I could not even begin to get a good picture of it all.

  About a block from the Circus was the Royal Crescent.  Oh . My. golly. it was amazing. Click on the link to learn more about it!  One just cannot appreciate the complexity from my pictures~ so I went and got an aerial  view from the interweb...

The Circus is on the right,  and the Royal Crescent on the left.

 One of the beautiful little courtyards at the Circus

  Everywhere I looked in the city was as perfect as a  picture postcard. This is a peek at the Roman Baths...they stay open late, so a visit to them after class one afternoon was planned.


Just across from the Roman Baths & Pump Room was the Bath Abbey


 I don't know if these spikes were meant for keeping birds, or people from sitting there....which didnt really matter as it worked well for both!

 We walked thru the Abbey Green and there was a little stall selling the most wonderful picnic hampers dressed with china and silverware~ THE most amazing little things~ the English know how to picnic!

  Its fun to imagine what all this olde tree has seen~ I wish I spoke tree...

 Bath has the most wonderful Tea Shops & Rooms. I'm serious when I say, I could certainly be right at home here for the rest of my days


  No visit to Bath is complete without a  visit to Sally Lunn's  . We didnt eat there, but we did go to the Museum within and saw how she made her famous bunns

  From Sally's, we walked out to the gardens by the Abbey Hotel, and this is looking up the River Avon to the Pulteney Street Bridge. From this view, it certainly looks like a bridge, but it is completely built over, so when you are actually on it, it looks just like any other shop lined street in Bath. Looking down it, the Holburne Museum is at it's end. The weir is seen in the foreground.
I am so blessed to have had such a wonderful friend to show me around the city~ thankyou so much H!
 It was getting on to be lunchtime, so H treated me to lunch at a little cafe overlooking the weir~ if you look in the picture of the Pulteney Bridge above, its to the right down the steps, where all those people are. As if the day want perfect already...when I pulled out my chair to sit down, there was a one pound coin! I felt like Charlie on Willy Wonka....tho I didn't go buy chocolates with it, its saved and will forever have a special place in my casket! 

Had to get back home after lunch to get things ready in my classroom at the Holburne Museum for my class at the Bath Textile Summer School. Super excited to get started!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Is it really October???Already???

Squeezing in some me time...

  Everyone keeps asking me what I'm working on...and truth is, I dont have hardly any time to work on anything for me. I am busy as ever working up not one or two but three new classes, new boxes and needlework tools and dollys for Christmas~ along with painting slate frames, sculpting stumpwork figures and being the endless chauffeur to a bottomless pit of never ending school activities. So I have to make time for me...which is squeezing in a few hours on a Sunday, or a few minutes before bed to work a leaf or something....After I got back from the U.K. when I was digging thru my endless stacks of notebooks that keep track of different things, I found the one for my flat top casket and...really?  The last time I worked on it was in January? seriously???  Well that was just a pathetic realization....that if your not aware, time will just leave you in the dust.  
All the panels for my casket sit on their own little table in the gallery. They look like little ghosts under their dust covers. Its super hard to decide which panel to work on, as I had finished all of the friezes, so now I have to start from the beginning on a panel....to keep the choice easy, I picked the frame that didnt have any work done on it yet, which was the lid.  Since I won this casket in the Beaded Basket competition, I thought it fitting to work an allegory of Lady Victory in a central cartouche , surrounded by angels of coarse....and a few bugs. There is so much detail packed into this little roundel, I have had to dig out my smallest of smallest little weensie beads. The castle could fit on my thumbnail....

Little dragonfly has peacock feathers worked into his body, and I have his gossamer beaded wings complete...but set aside in a parts bag to be put on last after all the beadwork is finished.

In a weekend I got most of the background completed~a little cloud, bird, hills and water....I only have the leaves on the one tree to work, then I will be able to start the fun three dimensional parts. Ladye is patiently waiting to be dressed.....  because she is just a bust, I was able to sculpt her a little larger than most figures, and so used a precious pair of antique 18thc blue glass eyes. I cant wait to see her finished!

 I know I have to work the inside first before starting the outside, but that doesnt keep my mind from wandering and all the while I am stitching, I am thinking about how I will work the roundel....what colors of beads I will use, that sort of thing. I made  little practice padding and trial of these colors....havent decided yet if I like it or not.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Paris, Day 5 Part 2

Merci Msr. Gustave!
 O.K.....now I know Paris is a city of food....and there are literally tons of wonderful places to go sit down and eat...but if one only has a single day...as in, me....I did not want to spend it sitting waiting for food! After the Louvre we stopped at Eric Kayser and bought sandwiches for lunch. Mine was 6 Euro and oh. my. golly....was it good

 After getting our foods, we walked back across the street to sit and eat in the Jardin des Tuileries 

 The gardens, just outside the Louvre, were built in 1564 by Queen Catherine de Medicis. It was a beautiful spot for lunch! Speaking of...

 My sandwich... which didnt last long

 Looking past the obelisk down the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triumphe de l'Etoile ~ its so huge. I never imagined it being so absolutely monstrous. 

 Our next magical stop was the Musee de l'Orangerie to specifically see Monet's Waterlillies~ they are magnificent! You can read special particulars about them here 

 There are two spectacular oval rooms, bench seats to the center, so one may sit and be absolutely enrobed by them. Light enters from above thru a large bubble glass dome. We had got the Paris Museum Pass ahead of time, so did not have to stand in line to buy our tickets~ and some places the ques are so very long~ its well worth it! There really was alot of people there, but everyone was very considerate of others~ I was impressed, (no pun intended)

 AS if the Monet's were not overwhelming enough, one could appreciate and study so many great masters there~  Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse....Picasso!   I think this one is my favorite tho, by Modigliani...because he looks just  like my son Josh.

 Ok...had to include this one painted by Van Gogh in 1886....I saw two early windmills like this on the train on the way in to Paris....must include one on my casket!

 After L'Orangerie we were back on the metro to get up close to it. I forget what stop exactly it was...the metro was so crowded this day, we were packed in like sardines!  We came up out of the station, walked round a huge marble looking building, and voi~la. There it was, the Eiffel Tower!

 The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution

 It was amazing to see up close, and to walk underneath of. We didnt have enough time to stand in the loooong line to take the elevator to the top...it was magical enough just to sit under it and watch all the people while enjoying some ice cream

After a quick metro ride we were back to Gare du Nord train station, thru security and customs and on our way back home to London

Food on the train was really good...dont know what it was, some kind of chicken...but it was very nice. I wish trains were more popular here in the US.

By this time, we had walked over 38 miles this week, per Mendy's little gadget that kept track of such things....my feet were killing me, and I was even  wearing my good running shoes. We got back home a little before midnight...did I run up and go to sleep straight away because we had to be up and on the train to Bath at 0600 in the morning???...nope.  Time to share a bottle of spirits while soaking our feet in the tub (and whatever other receptacle that held water we could find) and sharing our favorite memories of the day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Paris, Day 5..part 1

Bonjour La Joconde!

   Saturday I was up at 3:30 am to get to the train station to go to Paris~ Since I missed getting a picture of Platform 9 & 3/4 the other day for the children (Mendy is on her way to Hogwarts!) at King's Cross Station~ we popped over on our way to St. Pancras Station~ which is just across the courtyard basically....
 One thing great about being there so early in the morning....there wasnt anyone there!

   This is our car on the high speed train to Paris from London~ it was about a 2 hour trip is all. The service and breakfast was excellent.

  We arrived at Gare du Nord Train Station at 0922...but because Paris is an hour ahead of London, it was already nearly 10:30....eeeekkkk so much time gone by in the day....and when you only have a day in Paris....you hit the ground running!

  A quick trip on the Metro and we were at the Carousel~ one doesnt even have to come up above ground level to get to the Museum

  From the underground metro tunnels the area just suddenly opens up in to a big cavernous space

 and Voi~ la! The entrance to the Louvre Museum is  just on the other side of the inverted glass pyramid

 There were two things on my must see list~ one was the Mona Lisa, or La Joconde as she is known in French....and the other was Vermeer's Lace Maker.  The Mona Lisa was indeed magical~ she is in a large room with an entire wall all to herself...there is a glass in front so a bit of a glare, but amazing just the same. I honestly, never ever thought I would lay my own eyes on her, ever, in my lifetime. 
 Everywhere one went in the museum was spectacular~ in this hall was crown jewels...but who is looking down, when the ceiling is so magnificent?!

  The painting of the fairies first caught my eye...I thought they were angels, then I looked closer and realized they were fairies....and then I looked even closer, and realized the painting was surrounded by sculpted fairies!!!!

 We then spent what seemed like forever trying to find the wing the Dutch paintings were in....but on the way, many spectacular things to see~ the Spinx....the inside of an Egyptian tomb...a person could spend a week in the Louvre and it wouldnt be enough time

 We saw the Venus de Milo...she looks quite good for being carved from marble in 120...BC! 


After snaking around the Louvre we finally discovered the Dutch paintings were out on loan, all of them....so we were off to get some lunch....we came out of the museum and I was taking a picture of the big glass pyramid and the reflecting pools...and as I turned around...there it was. Do you see it there? Just to the right behind me? 3 years of French I took in school...oldest daughter and I have always loved it....and I really, really never ever thought I would ever get to see it in person....but oh. my. golly. there IT is. Its a good thing my glasses turn dark outside, cause I am crying like a baby in this picture. 
XOXOXOX::::Thankyou Mendy & Stacey:::XOXOXOX